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The Prospect Roundup, 8/7

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In which we take a good look at the Giants farm system after trading away four prospects, and two big names no one wanted to see go.

Re-examining The Farm System, Post-Deadline

When the Giants have been contending over the last six years, they haven’t been shy about trading at the deadline for help, and this year was definitely no different.  The Giants were about as proactive as they have ever been, surprisingly trading away some big names and, for the first time since 2012, trading away a Major Leaguer in Matt Duffy.  While the big league team got an overhaul on many fronts, the farm system got plundered.  What are the things we can ascertain about the Giants’ farm system in the aftermath?

The Pressure Is Off On Producing A Starter For 2016

Last Week’s Roundup column?  Yeah, pretty much ignore that first part.  The acquisition of Matt Moore was expensive, but he is under team control through the 2019 season.  He’s already replaced Jake Peavy in the rotation, and clearly that’ll be his position next season and there after.  That takes the pressure off Chris Stratton, Ty Blach, Clayton Blackburn and Tyler Beede to be major league ready to start 2017.  Now, there may still be opportunities, since Matt Cain is no sure thing, and Johnny Cueto has an out after 2017…but they’ll get a little more time to prove they are ready before then.

Christian Arroyo Is The Future

The rumors often listed teams asking for Christian Arroyo and teams saying no.  Now that the Giants have moved Matt Duffy, it’s clear they think of Arroyo as his longterm replacement.  Eduardo Nunez is the short-term solution, for sure, and he’s not perfect (especially at defense), but he’s not worthless.  The Giants, meanwhile, have a highly-rated first round pick waiting in the wings.  Arroyo hasn’t been at the top of the offensive charts at AA this season, and has been bounced around the infield defensively as the team looked for his future home.  Now they know where it will be.

The Giants Still Have Three Of The Top 100 Prospects

Despite how some seem to see the Giants’ farm system, the Giants got five players in the Baseball America Top 100 Prospects list for the midseason.  Despite trading four prospects, the Giants only traded away two of them.  Sure, one was their highest, #50 Phil Bickford, and one was their lowest, #91 Adalberto Mejia.  But #56 Christian Arroyo, #81 Tyler Beede, and #83 Chris Shaw are still in the system.  So the upheaval isn’t as bad as it may seem.

The Giants Traded Away Two Top Prospects, But Two Volatile Prospects

Anyone who was paying attention after the All-Star Futures Game knows that there was a little debate about Phil Bickford, and what type of pitcher he could be.  Some of it was inflated expectations, but some of it showed the young pitcher had a lot of development left, and while his ceiling could be high, not everyone is sure how close he’ll come to reaching it.  Meanwhile, Lucius Fox is having pretty much the season a lot of us predicted.  The now-19-year old started all the way up at Low-A for his first pro season, and he’s struggled.  No one denies his tools and his potential, however, there’s just a long road ahead of him.  Neither of these players are sure things.  In recent years, the Giants have done pretty well in who they’ve chosen to trade away, and usually not seeing them come back to be hugely successful and causing regrets.  The one big exception, this year’s All-Star Adam Duvall, got traded to an ideal situation he wouldn’t have gotten in San Francisco.  That said, these are the biggest name prospects the Giants have traded since Zack Wheeler, and it may be years before we see if the Giants regret losing them.

The Giants Still Have A Penalty To Pay

The Giants traded away one of their biggest bonuses they’ve ever given to an amateur player, but they aren’t done paying the penalty.  Next year, just like this year, they were limited in the money they could spend on any one international free agent, to just $300,000.  That leaves them a little uncompetitive in that market for a while.  Along with a forfeited first round pick in this year’s draft for signing Jeff Samardzija, that leaves the Giants with a hole in refilling the system with high-ceiling players.  The Giants did well in the draft with Bryan Reynolds, but with the Giants likely to have a first round pick in the bottom quarter of next year’s draft as well, the team may have a hole for a while in the farm from this.

The Trade May Not Be Done

Since the trade occurred, a small controversy has arisen regarding Lucius Fox and previously unknown injury.  Fox is suffering from a bone bruise that he suffered after fouling a ball off of his foot a week before the trade, and had been trying to play through.  He may not be able to play the rest of the season.  Reports say that the Rays may be seeking additional compensation due to this.

This echoes a trade between the Marlins and Padres at the deadline, where one included player, Colin Rea, suffered an elbow injury just an inning into his Marlins career, and was returned to the Padres, with the Padres giving back one of their prospects.  Although many Giants fans may welcome it, the Rays do not seem interested in returning Fox.  Instead, the teams are discussing "additional compensation", which could be another prospect or financial.  This injury only makes the Rays trade a matching set, as Matt Duffy and Michael Santos were both injured as well at the time of their trade.

The Giants Dealt From Surprising Depth In Augusta’s Rotation

The prospect the Giants traded that is lost in the big names is starting pitcher Michael Santos, who had a 2.91 ERA in 10 starts at Augusta.  But it is the 21-year old’s second season in Augusta after an injury shortened season in 2015.  Santos has been on the DL since early June this year as well, and had just been sent for a rehab assignment before the trade.  But Santos has hardly been the only pitcher opening eyes in Augusta.  22-year old Cory Taylor has been opening eyes with his stuff and a 2.58 ERA, and two 24-year olds, Jake McCasland and Michael Connolly have converted from relief and been pleasant surprises.

The Giants Know What They’re Doing

Well, this is more an inference based on the past than anything else.  Bobby Evans said after the trade deadline that the July 28th trade of SP Adalberto Mejia for 3B Eduardo Nunez was not done in anticipation of the Giants’ August 1st trade of 3B Matt Duffy to get SP Matt Moore.  True or not, the moves have a perfect symmetry and, with the expectations placed on Arroyo to move up the line, it sure feels like there’s a plan in place.

Dan Slania: 1 Step Forward, 2 Steps Back

Dan Slania’s season has been wild, but that’s been nothing compared to his week, thanks to the trade deadline.

As we highlighted last week, Slania got the move from Double-A to Triple-A Sacramento after Adalberto Mejia got traded.  He took the Sunday start, and had a very nice introduction to Sacramento.  Our pal Connor Penfold was on hand to get a first-hand look at him.

Slania was finished after those seven innings, and got the win.  One of the ongoing questions about Slania is what he’ll be in the future.  As a reliever, he had been throwing high-90’s, and we can see that as a starter, he’s sitting a bit lower than that.  However, the drop in velocity into the 7th inning might be a tip that he doesn’t have the stamina to be a starter…although, he hasn’t had a lot of time to really push and expand his stamina.

However, later in the week, Slania again was on the move to the surprise of many, this time down in the system. Albert Suarez was moved down to Sacramento with Matt Moore joining the Giants rotation and Jake Peavy moving to the long-man bullpen role.  Suddenly, Slania was back in San Jose, taking the traded Phil Bickford’s start there.  Clearly, this wasn’t a performance issue, but was more of a roster squeeze.

Slania wasn’t quite as dominant in San Jose, going 7 innings and giving up two earned runs on 6 hits and tying a season-high 4 walks.  He struck out 5, as he’s done each of his last four starts (regardless of level).

Slania remains on the watch list.  It’s unknown if he’ll stay in San Jose for the time being with the roster squeeze, move back up to Richmond or maybe even find his way back to Sacramento.  In the background, Cory Taylor was promoted to Richmond from Augusta.  It’s possible that Taylor and Slania may eventually swap spots, when the pitching days line up.

Bruising Gio Brusa

The Northwest League-Pioneer League All-Star Game took place in Ogden, Utah, this week, and Gio Brusa was hitting home runs as high as the mountains ringing Lindquist Field.  Brusa won the Home Run Derby in his final out before aiding the NWL in an All-Star win.

The Giants haven’t been known for power prospects in the past, but this year some of the power has been showing through.  Gio Brusa became the second Giant to compete in a Home Run Derby this season (the other being Chris Shaw).

Brusa, a switch-hitter, decided the day of the event to swing from the left side.  He faced tough competition just to win the Northwest League side of the event, tying Eugene’s Chris Pieters 10-10 after the first round, and winning in a swing-off, 3-2.  He then faced off against the hometown Ibandel Isabel in the finals.  He won, 3-2, with the winning home run coming with one out left.

Enjoy these photos and videos from the event.

Brusa and Fulmer Lead To A Northwest All-Star Win

The Volcanoes made their presence known in the second annual Northwest League-Pioneer League All-Star Game, winning the game, 11-5.

The scoring came in bursts in the game.  It started in the third, as the NWL led off the inning with a home run, and then Salem-Keizer’s Ashford Fulmer hit a double, and came in to score on a Garrett Hampton single.  The NWL would come away with three runs in the inning to take a 3-0 lead, but the Pioneer team came back with four runs in the bottom of the third to take a 4-3 lead.

In the fourth, though, the NWL exploded.  They led off the inning with a double, single and triple, leading to three early runs.  With the bases cleared, Fulmer got his second hit, a single, and he came around to score on a single by Eric Filla.  With the NWL already up 8-4 in the inning, Gio Brusa capped it off as only he could with a two-run home run.

Fulmer, the NWL starting center fielder and leadoff man, finished the game 2-for-5 with two runs, a walk, two stolen bases and two strikeouts.  Brusa was the starting left fielder, going 1-for-3 with the home run and two RBI, and a strikeout.

Two other Volcanoes were used off the bench.  Kevin Rivera went 0-for-2 as second baseman later in the game, and catcher John Riley also went 0-for-2 after coming in mid-way through the game.

Heath Quinn: NWL Player Of The Week

He wasn’t an All-Star, but Heath Quinn did get one honor from the Northwest League this week: He was named the Player of the Week for July 25-31.  For that week, he went 9-for-27 (.333) with two home runs and three doubles.  Quinn is the second Volcano to win the honor, with Bryan Reynolds having won it earlier in July.

As of today, Quinn is batting .333/.416/.527 in 34 games with Salem-Keizer, with 11 doubles, a triple and four home runs.  He’s also stolen three bases on the season.

Hitter of the Week - Travis Ishikawa

He may not be considered a "prospect" anymore, but we can’t ignore what Travis Ishikawa did this week.

The 32-year old went on a home run tear this week, with five home runs on the week to lead the system, including a grand slam.  Ishikawa went 12-for-26 (.462) and also added a double, and three walks against 6 strikeouts.  He also had an astounding 17 RBI on the week, the only player of the week to even be in double digits.

Ishikawa is only batting .240 on the season, but that’s dragged down by 40 games he played with Charlotte (White Sox) to start the season.  In 51 games with Sacramento, he’s batting .274/.359/.480, and has 9 home runs as a River Cat (15 on the season).  Check out his grand slam here:

Pitcher of the Week - Tyler Beede

After trades have solidified Tyler Beede as the Giants’ top pitching prospect remaining in the system, Beede had one of his best games of the season.

Beede went seven shutout innings on Friday, allowing just four hits and three walks while striking out nine.  The nine strikeouts matched a season-high for him, as he has seemingly begun to find his strikeout touch again.  In 6 of his last 7 games, he has had more strikeouts than innings pitched.

Beede now has a 3.06 ERA through 19 starts in Richmond, with 99 strikeouts in 114.2 innings, and 38 walks.  He has lowered his batting average allowed to .267, and his WHIP sits at 1.34.

If you’d like to see some of Beede’s work, with no commentary, here’s some video of him striking out the side.

Saturday’s Roundup

AAA

Score

AA

Score

High-A

Score

Low-A

Score

Sacramento

2

Richmond

8

Stockton

9

Augusta

11

Albuquerque

9

Bowie

2

San Jose

4

Asheville

4

Short-A

Score

AZ Rookie

Score

DSL Rookie

Score

Spokane

3

Giants

6

Giants

5

Salem-Keizer

8

Rangers

2

Cubs

4

Notable Lines

Team

Player

Pos

AB

R

H

2B

3B

HR

RBI

BB

SO

AVG*

SAC

Austin Slater

CF

5

0

2

0

0

0

0

0

0

0.242

SAC

Chris Denorfia

RF

4

0

2

0

0

0

0

0

1

0.279

SAC

Grant Green

3B

4

1

2

0

0

1

1

0

0

0.299

RIC

Christian Arroyo

3B

3

0

1

0

0

0

0

1

1

0.281

RIC

Hunter Cole

RF

4

1

2

0

0

0

0

0

1

0.270

RIC

Chris Shaw

1B

4

0

1

1

0

0

2

0

0

0.211

RIC

Brandon Bednar

2B

4

1

2

0

0

0

0

0

0

0.288

RIC

Jeff Arnold

C

4

2

3

1

0

1

3

0

1

0.221

SJ

Dylan Davis

RF

2

0

1

0

0

0

0

3

0

0.291

SJ

T.J. Bennett

2B

4

2

4

1

0

1

2

0

0

0.297

AUG

Jalen Miller

2B

5

2

3

1

0

1

2

0

1

0.227

AUG

Matt Winn

C

5

2

2

0

0

0

0

0

0

0.240

AUG

Junior Arias

RF

5

2

3

0

0

1

3

0

2

0.310

AUG

Jean Angomas

DH

4

0

2

1

0

0

4

0

0

0.230

S-K

Ashford Fulmer

CF

3

2

1

1

0

0

0

1

0

0.317

S-K

Ryan Howard

SS

3

1

1

1

0

0

2

0

1

0.263

S-K

Kevin Rivera

2B

4

1

2

1

0

0

2

0

1

0.305

AZL

Jacob Heyward

LF

4

2

0

0

0

0

0

1

2

0.360

AZL

Sandro Fabian

RF

4

0

2

1

0

0

1

0

0

0.326

AZL

Nick Hill

DH

4

2

2

1

0

0

1

0

1

0.306

AZL

Kyle Drabek

3B

3

0

1

0

0

0

1

0

0

0.200

DSL

Ismael Munguia

CF

6

1

2

1

0

0

0

0

0

0.283

DSL

Angeddy Almanzar

1B

6

1

3

0

0

0

0

0

2

0.311

Team

Player

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

HR

ERA

SAC

Clayton Blackburn (L, 6-8)

7.0

9

5

5

1

8

1

4.65

SAC

Steven Okert

1.0

5

4

4

0

1

0

4.17

RIC

Christian Jones

3.1

4

1

1

3

1

0

4.38

RIC

Preston Claiborne (W, 2-0)

2.1

1

0

0

1

4

0

3.03

SJ

Jose Morel (L, 2-6)

0.0

2

2

2

2

0

1

5.40

SJ

Dusten Knight

3.1

4

4

4

1

4

0

5.34

AUG

Jake McCasland (W, 5-4)

7.0

4

0

0

0

10

0

1.71

AUG

Caleb Smith

1.0

0

0

0

0

2

0

2.55

S-K

Melvin Adon (W, 2-4)

5.0

5

3

3

6

3

0

6.20

S-K

Hengerber Medina (H, 2)

3.0

0

0

0

1

3

0

4.75

AZL

Alex Bostic

4.1

3

1

1

2

2

0

4.76

AZL

Nick Deeg (W, 1-0)

2.2

4

1

1

0

2

0

2.57

DSL

Miguel Figueroa

0.2

4

2

2

1

1

0

2.93

DSL

Oliver Pinto

4.1

4

2

2

4

3

0

1.78

DSL

Camilo Doval (W, 2-0)

4.0

2

0

0

1

2

0

2.57

• It wasn’t a good day for starters in the system.  San Jose’s Jose Morel was unable to even get an out, and had a wild pitch and a balk as well before being lifted.  There were no injuries reported.  In the DSL, Miguel Figueroa got two outs before he was lifted.  And in Richmond, Christian Jones only went 3.1 innings, but he was a reliever making his first spot start of the season.

• In his last four starts, Morel has a 13.86 ERA, with 9 K and 13 BB in 12.1 innings.

• Not all pitching news was bad.  Jake McCasland struck out 10 in 7 shut out innings.  The 10 were a season-high, and McCasland has had three shutout outings in his last five starts, including the no-hitter.

Clayton Blackburn tied a season-high 8 strikeouts, but his outing fell apart late.  He gave up three hits, including a two-run home run, to give up three runs in his final inning of work.

Steven Okert had his worst relief outing of the season, giving up a season-high four earned runs on five hits in the eighth.  His ERA jumped to 4.17 from 3.28.

T.J. Bennett got his first four-hit game of his pro career, and his third home run in his last six games.  He’s now hitting .297 with San Jose and has four home runs.

Jalen Miller hit his first home run since June 24th, his third of the season, and had his seventh game of the season with at least 3 hits.

Jacob Heyward has cooled off considerably, so far just 2-for-16 in August with two walks.  His batting average is down to .360, though he still has a .510 on-base percentage.

Sacramento Litterbox

Chris Denorfia had a big week for the River Cats, going 11-for-23 on the week with two doubles and three home runs.  Denorfia has picked it up, now batting .279 in 30 games.  This week was his first extra-base hits for Sacramento…Before giving up five runs on Saturday, Clayton Blackburn had a seven inning scoreless start on Monday…Chris Stratton gave up just one run in six innings this week.  He now has 71 strikeouts in 88 innings.

Richmond Nuthouse

Steven Duggar was 10-for-25 on the week, and has taken over the team batting average lead at .331.  He is in the midst of a 14-game hitting streak…Andrew Suarez continues to improve, lowering his ERA to 4.39 with a two-run, seven-inning performance.  Suarez hasn’t given up more than two runs in a start in his last five starts…Chris Shaw had a six-game hitting streak broken up in the first game of Saturday’s double-header.  Shaw had gotten exactly one hit in each game, and he got one hit in the second game of the DH.  His AA batting average has flattened out at .211.

San Jose Footprints

San Jose sits four games back in the division, in third place.  However, San Jose has a 12 game lead in the wild card standings, so they are in good position for a playoff spot…T.J. Bennett, powered by his 4-for-4 game Saturday, hit .444 (12-for-27) on the week, with three home runs…Miguel Gomez missed some time this week, but luckily it’s nothing serious.

...San Jose’s roster shortage may have affected Dan Slania coming down from Sacramento, and it may have a bit to do with the first 2016 draftee to make High-A, certainly not the one anyone would have expected.  Conor Menez took Bickford’s spot in the rotation.

Augusta Putt-putt Course

Augusta sits at 25-17, with a three-game division lead in the second half…Matt Winn, who celebrated his 24th birthday on Friday, went 9-for-20 (.450) with four home runs on the week.  Winn now has 12 home runs in 75 games with Augusta…Michael Connolly went six shutout innings this week to match some of Augusta’s strong pitching.  Connolly has a 2.51 ERA on the season now.

Salem-Keizer Crater

McC’s Jen-Mac Ramos did an interview with Matt Krook here.  Krook mad his best start of the season this week, allowing one run in 5.2 innings on Sunday before the break…Bryan Reynolds collected most of his hits this week on a 4-for-4 day, going 6-for-17 on the week.

Arizona Air Conditioner

Sandro Fabian was 7-for-21 on the week, with two doubles and a triple.  Fabian is batting .326 on the year, and has four walks against 20 strikeouts in 92 at-bats…Kyle Drabek is 2-for-10 in his first four games with the Giants, and has played third base in his two games in the field, making three errors so far…Alex Bostic made two good starts this week, allowing just two runs over a combined 9.1 innings, with 7 strikeouts.  His ERA dropped from 5.84 down to 4.76 in the two starts.

Dominican Beach

Angeddy Almanzar continues to lead the DSL team, batting 7-for-20 this week to raise his team-leading average to .311…Miguel Figueroa had his worst start on Saturday, even though he had not allowed a run in three of his previous five starts.  His ERA jumped to 2.93 after allowing two runs in 2/3 of an inning.

Transaction Log:

Sacramento:

8/1 - 2B Grant Green sent outright from San Francisco to Sacramento; C Ty Ross assigned to Sacramento from San Jose; LHP Steven Okert activated from the 7-Day DL.

8/3 - LHP Matt Reynolds and RHP Albert Suarez optioned to Sacramento.

Green joined Ramiro Pena and Ruben Tejada coming back from San Francisco, helping out the Sacramento infield, and prompting the moves you’ll see in San Jose.  Ty Ross was moved up from San Jose as one of their catchers came back from injury, but quickly went back down without appearing in a Triple-A game.  Okert returned from twisting his ankle on July 22nd.

Richmond:

8/2 - 1B Angel Villalona activated from the 7-Day DL.

8/4 - OF Hunter Cole activated from the 7-Day DL; 1B Angel Villalona placed on the 7-Day DL.

8/5 - RHP Cory Taylor assigned to Richmond from Augusta.

Villalona has been having a hardluck season.  He made two pinch-hit appearances in two games after coming back from injury, going 0-for-1 with a walk, before going right back onto the DL. Cole returned after missing just a week of action.  Cory Taylor made a two-level jump, after having posted a 2.58 ERA in 18 starts for Augusta.  He has 100 strikeouts and 25 walks in 97.2 innings.

San Jose:

8/1 - SS Rando Moreno and 3B Mitch Delfino assigned to San Jose from Sacramento; C Bryan Case activated from the 7-Day DL.

8/2 - RHP Conner Menez assigned to San Jose from Salem-Keizer; RHP Tyler Cyr and RHP Jason Forjet placed on the 7-Day DL.

8/3 - C Ty Ross, RHP Duke Welker, and RHP Austin Fleet assigned to San Jose from Sacramento.

8/4 - C Bryan Case placed on the 7-Day DL

8/5 - RHP Dan Slania assigned to San Jose from Sacramento; SS Richard Rodriguez placed on the 7-Day DL retroactive to 8/3

San Jose, who has been in a roster crunch much of the season, got a number of roster infusions from Sacramento after a number of former San Francisco players all returned to the minors.  Moreno had played 44 games in Sacramento, batting .299/.325/.381.  He’d mostly played in Richmond previously, batting .215 in Double-A.  Delfino played 53 games in Sacramento, batting .231/.296/.306.  Bryan Case bounced off and on the DL again, and has yet to appear at San Jose.  Ty Ross returned to San Jose, where he’s hit .223/.290/.318 in 64 games.

Welker had made 31 appearances in Sacramento, with a 3.86 ERA in the bullpen.  Fleet had a 3.86 ERA in 21 appearances, 2 starts, with 19 strikeouts and 16 walks in 32.2 innings.  Conner Menez made a jump up to San Jose from Salem-Keizer, the first 2016 draftee to make High-A.  He had a 2.57 ERA in the AZL, but had given up  four runs in five innings in one start at S-K.

Tyler Cyr has a 2.23 ERA in 35 appearances between San Jose and Augusta this season.  Jason Forjet has a 4.84 ERA our of the San Jose rotation in 19 appearances.  Richard Rodriguez had been batting .179 with San Jose in 35 games.

Augusta:

8/2 - 2B John Polonius assigned to Augusta from Richmond.

8/5 - RHP Charles Owen assigned to Augusta from San Jose.

Polonius only played three games in Richmond, where he went 2-for-6.  He has a .118 average in 10 games at Augusta this season.  Charles Owen was on a rehab assignment with the AZL Giants, where he had three scoreless appearances for 3.1 innings.  He had a 3.18 ERA between the AZL and S-K in 2015 in 18 relief appearances.

Salem-Keizer:

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AZL Giants:

7/31 - RHP Michael Santos and RHP Wilson Santos sent on rehab assignments to the AZL.

8/1 - RHP Charles Owen sent on a rehab assignment to the AZL Giants

No, Wilson Santos is not a typo.  Wilson Santos was picked up off waivers from the Padres organization in the offseason.  The 24-year old had a 3.69 ERA combined over three levels (Low-A being the highest) in 2015.  Wilson made his first appearances on the year in this rehab assignment, allowing two runs on three hits and two walks in 2.1 innings.

The other Santos, Michael, of course, was put on his rehab assignment just before his trade.

DSL Giants:

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